The importance of showing up and speaking out!
By Amy Brown, Director, Consumer & Environmental Protection Agency – County of Santa Clara, CA
I spent every moment I wasn’t at work or asleep in the week before the Women’s Marches on January 21, 2017, frantically knitting pink hats for my wife and me to wear to our local march. I finished the second hat 15 minutes before we left our house to join approximately 25,000 people marching in downtown San Jose. News organizations reported that the march was the largest demonstration in San Jose’s history. It took over an hour to walk about three-quarters of a mile because the size of the crowd really slowed our pace.
The sense of community at the march was heartening. Everyone was upbeat and friendly, exchanging comments about the many creative signs or ubiquitous pink hats, or just greeting and encouraging each other along the way. Many people watched from buildings, balconies and sky ways above the march, cheering us along. There was not a counter-protester in sight.
The overwhelming feeling was of a community coming together. I particularly enjoyed seeing how many men participated in the march. The group was pretty diverse, especially with respect to age, with everyone from newborns to grandparents in the crowd. It was a relief to feel so connected to so many people after the divisiveness of the presidential campaign and inspiring to see so many people express support for women. My pink hat will continue to remind me of the sense of community at the march and of the importance of showing up and speaking out!